Leonardo Fioravanti will replace Australian Tour rookie Jack Freestone and Australian Jay Davies will replace Jadson Andre at the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro. Freestone injured his knee not long after the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast, and is still recovering. Andre hurt himself mid-heat at Bells, and is also taking time to heal up.
"A lot of my friends are on Tour now, so to be able to compete is great," said Fioravanti. "I can't wait to surf some good waves and try and take out a few of the big guys. If the waves are good, maybe the Box will be pumping."
Fioravanti is poised for success, at the Box and beyond. He's currently No. 1 on the Qualifying Series, after finishing runner-up at both the Maitland and Port Stephens Pro and the Australian Open of Surfing. And all this is barely more than a year after he broke his back at Pipeline, during the Volcom Pipe Pro.
Davies is also a formidable competitor. He was a wildcard in last year's competition there and, after taking down some of the tour's top surfers, finished in fifth place. Because of the timing, Davies will replace Andre in Round One, Heat 12 and surfers will be re-seeded after Round Two.
Both Davies and Fioravanti will have their work cut out for them at Margaret River. In Round One, Davies will go up against fellow Aussie Josh Kerr and Brazilian Wiggolly Dantas. Fioravanti will face 2014 World Champ Gabriel Medina and 2016 rookie Davey Cathels. Fioravanti is ready -- at least in terms of enthusiasm.
"Unfortnately for many guys on Tour, they got injured," he said. "But fortunately for me I got into this event and I'm super-stoked."
Catch both replacement surfers when they paddle out starting Friday, April 8 local time live here and on the WSL app.